There are many famous poets out there but “the most popular poet in America” by Bruce Weber in the New York Times, states that Billy Collins carries that position. Collins is famous for conversational, witty poems that welcome readers with humor but often slip into quirky, tender or profound observation on the everyday, reading and writing, and poetry itself. He has such a wonderful way of writing his poetry to appeal to any audience and that will make you chuckle to yourself.
He is a very creative and enthusiastic writer and writes on a very broad spectrum of subjects. He has a way of making every day common things into a hysterical form of comedic writing He hints at these as shown in these poems stated: “Another reason why I don’t keep a gun in the house”and “Flames”. Billy Collins uses humor in these two poems to create a possibility of an epiphany in the audience. In the poem “Another reason why I don’t keep a gun in the house”, Mr.
Collins uses humor to express the speaker’s annoyance.
The speaker is obviously annoyed with the barking dog next door. The title is referring to the notion that if he had a gun in the house, he would most likely go next door, and kill the dog. I’m guessing he would regret his decision afterwards, so he decides not to keep a gun in the house all together. The title definitely catches the reader’s attention, in the fact that it is humorous, and just an odd title. The repetition of certain phrases, such as “The neighbors’ dog will not stop barking” (Collins), stresses to the reader really how annoying this dog must be.
The poet turns the annoyance of the dog, into a playful and humorous event, placing the barking dog into Beethoven’s orchestra. “He is barking the same high, rhythmic bark that he barks every time they leave the house. It’s like bad stream-of-consciousness, and Collins is content to leave it that way, allowing the entire weight of the poem to rest on the supporting arm of the admittedly clever merging of the dogs barking and the Beethoven symphony that is playing”(Merrywell).
It also seems like that no right-minded artist would ever put a dog into one of his symphony’s, yet when the reader see’s that a dog is in Beethoven’s symphony, and a solo part at that, that it must be automatically accepted and applauded, because it is Beethoven. “Man vs. dog is usually a comic scenario and the dog usually wins. No exception here: the dog takes over the orchestra, the symphony, and ultimately the poem itself “(Elf). The poem really does surround itself around the disturbance created by the dog. Collins also uses humor to show that he was tempted.
The way Collins handles this problem through his imagination, creates a new way for him to handle it in a non-violent manner. I think if he did indeed have a gun in his household the dog would die, so not even owning a gun, takes the temptation out of the picture. Anyone can relate to this if one was on a diet, and someone bought a pint of ice cream and stuck it in the freezer. The temptation would be there, and it would most likely turn out badly, resulting in that person eating the ice cream and ruining their diet.
On that note, Billy Collins relieves his temptation by not even owning a firearm. The Poem “Child Development,” by Billy Collins is another poem revealing his wonderful light hearted sense of humor as . This poem is about children developing and learning to be judgmental and gaining the knowledge of name calling. He forms this way with his poem that makes the reader see how as children, people use name calling as a form of being bratty of course, but also to show our understanding of the people in our surroundings.
Olivia Kay, a poetry analyst, states that “These names that young children call each other may change throughout time, but the practice is always there” (Kay). This holds very true considering people see it every day from school to around the house. This desire to trash talk is in everyone including adults. “In the beginning of the poem, he introduces his way of saying that we all enter this world of name calling just like prehistoric fish grew legs and learned to walk on the land”(Gollinger).
Collins says that everyday new insults are added and they yell them from knee level with their little faces showing their challenging expressions. He uses names like “dumb goopyhead, big sewerface, and you poop-on-the-floor” as a way to show you how entertaining their insults can really be when you think about it. He relates this to trash talk that drunks would use in a bar to upset an idiotic adult and says “nothing Samuel Johnson would bother tossing out of the pub, but then toddlers are not trying to devastate some fatuous Enlightenment hack” (Collins).
Some would agree that the difference between adults and kids is that most kids perform this face to face while adults do it behind ones back. Olivia mentions that “Adults, however, are not always as straightforward and expressive as children when it comes to name calling. Many teenagers and adults want to maintain a positive image and do not want others to know that they think of them negatively or as weird or strange. Teenagers and adults tend to do less name-calling face to face and more behind people’s back or in their heads to themselves without any vocalization. That they mean no actual harm with this way of being, but it’s a way to get their feelings out and to try and get awareness, whether it is negative attention or not, it’s still all the same to them. It shows in the poem his relation to the children’s minds and how they see adults in saying that “they are just tormenting their fellow squirts or going after the attention of the giants way up there with their cocktails and bad breath talking baritone nonsense to the other giants.
This part of the poem is relating to the adults and parents of the children having a cocktail party and how at least children call each other names to their faces while adults smile and pretend to one another when they are face to face, and wait for them to leave before talking garbage, saying rude offensive things about them, and basically backstabbing one another. He says they are “waiting to call them names after thanking them for a lovely party and hearing the door close. The poem concludes with saying that People save their anger or tempers for inanimate objects, such as “an errant hammer, tire chains, or receding trains missed by seconds,” that unlike children who just blurt it out to one another as they see fit. Even though people discipline their children for this atrocious behavior and tell them they are in trouble for this offensive way of being to one another, or in some cases disrespecting adults.
They then think and realize to themselves that they do the same thing, just behind closed doors, or when the person turns their back, or at an object that doesn’t have emotions and can’t talk back to them. In the poem he writes that, “though they know in their adult hearts, even as they threaten to banish Timmy to bed for his appalling behavior, that their bosses are Big Fatty Stupids, their wives are Dopey Dopeheads, and that they themselves are Mr. Sillypants. ” This poem is so humorous in the way he compares adults and their behavior to that of children’s and in some ways they truly will never grow up.
Some people would refer to Collins as a “different” kind of poet. His poems have a humorous atmosphere as shown in “Another reason why I don’t keep a gun in the house” and “Flames”. He shows us the way he thinks which then translates into the way he writes. This technique creates a chuckling atmosphere for the reader which wants us to read more and more of his poems. Marrywell, Jack. “Poetry analysis: Another Reason Why I Don’t Keep A Gun In The House, by Billy Collins . ” . Helium, 6 12 2011. Web. 3 Mar 2013. <http://www. helium. om/items/2263070-poetry-analysis-another-reason-why-i-dont-keep-a-gun-in-the-house-by-billy-collins>. “Poem Elf. ” . N. p.. Web. 3 Mar 2013. <http://poemelf. com/category/poems/another-reason-why-i-dont-keep-a-gun-in-the-house/>. Kay, Olivia. Poetry analysis: Child Development, by Billy Collins . Helium, 25 Feb 2012. Web. 3 Mar 2013. <http://www. helium. com/items/2296686-poetry-analysis-child-development-by-billy-collins>. Gollinger, Nikki. “Child Development. ” . N. p.. Web. 3 Mar 2013. <http://billycollins1. blogspot. com/p/child-development. html>.
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